Green picks up the slack
Tuesday, November 05, 2002
Green Bay News Chronicle
By Paul Wait
For The News-Chronicle
Although more than 63,000 fans chanted "MVP! MVP!" as Brett Favre jogged to the sidelines midway through the fourth quarter with Green Bay safely beating Miami 24-3, the superhero of Monday night's tilt was decidedly Batman.
While running back Ahman Green, who jokingly has proclaimed himself as Batman on television, was wearing shoulder pads in place of a cape, he served as protector of Football City while Favre operated on a feeble left knee.
The Packers' fifth-year offensive workhorse touched the ball on 16 of Green Bay's first 26 plays, totaling 125 yards, and more importantly, scored both of the team's first-half touchdowns. Green finished with 19 carries for 72 yards and six catches for 71 yards.
"We just ran the ball and passed the ball like we do - nothing spectacular," Green said.
While Green's 1-yard plunge to stake the Packers to a 7-0 lead might not have been spectacular, Batman donned his hero outfit on third down and 18 from the Miami 33. Green took a swing pass from Favre and slashed and darted through Dolphins to the Miami 15, picking up the first down and setting up his short score five plays later.
The self-proclaimed Caped Crusader struck again on a screen late in the first half. Following a Miami punt, the Packers moved to the Dolphins' 23. Green Bay called a screen right. Miami linebacker Zach Thomas blitzed through the middle and threatened to dump Favre. Green stepped in front of Thomas, bounced off, slipped into the flat and took Favre's pass in stride. He followed a wall of blockers into the end zone to build an what proved to be an insurmountable 14-0 halftime lead.
"I thought he had an outstanding rushing game against a defense that's very tough to run against," said head coach Mike Sherman. "I'm pleased with how he performed as a runner, as a pass catcher and as a blocker. He's three-dimensional."
Although much of Green's success can be attributed to the running back's elusiveness, speed and determination, the offensive line and fullbacks William Henderson and Tony Carter opened running lanes against a quick Dolphins unit.
In short-yardage situations, the Packers lined up both Carter and Henderson in front of Green, helping keep Miami defenders from slashing through for the tackle.
"It's a package I like to use," Sherman said. "It gives us a different look."
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